It seems one of my daughter’s favorite words recently has become ‘no’. Like, I’m not even sure sometimes she realizes she is saying it or that she could stop should she choose .. because no matter the consequence it just keeps blurting out of her mouth.
“Little said is soonest mended.” – George Wither
Perhaps the above quote is why the stink eye my dad would shoot us .. even just the thought of him coming home and being told what we had done, was the fastest way for us to break out of whatever bad behavior we were exhibiting as children. And instead of fights and punishment, we could all move on to throwing around the football together at the park next door, laughing and treating each other with respect .. or the chores we had been asked to do with no grumbling .. until mom called us in for dinner.
“Back when I was a child …” I’ve found myself saying to my daughter more than a few times lately.
Boy I used to really get it for back talk. Hand across the face. The butt. Grounded. I think I have mentioned somewhere in all of these blog posts so far, I spent much of my young adult life alone in my room. Grounded. No radio. Just me and myself. Sitting there staring at my posters of C. Thomas Howell, Motley Crue and Ratt. Come to think of it, it wasn’t all that bad. Just kidding. It stunk. All that time alone in a room with nothing to do. Plus, we had to walk 10 miles barefoot through the snow uphill both ways to get to my room, I’m pretty sure. But I’m better for it now.
While all of that is running through my head as my own daughter pushes her limits, and I’m thinking, ‘what did she just say to me?’ ..
Externally, we work to find the appropriate tone of voice, the right volume, the right consequence and nip it in the bud.
But what is that anymore? The right consequence? Punishments many of us had, like spanking are just too cruel and controversial. (Kitzie and Kellie, really? Norwegian spanking paddle and bread board? At least they had cooler names than ‘wooden spoon’, ‘the belt’ or ‘the hand’.) A slap on the face, well that you just can’t do either anymore. Soap in the mouth? Do we question if that is still acceptable too? I’m not saying do any of these things. But I am saying, it seems more often than not we do little to nothing as a consequence for poor behavior out of fear its wrong – versus doing something.
And it seems because of this, there is growing concern we are raising a generation (if we haven’t already) of sassy, spoiled brats. Is the the case? I don’t know. But I certainly am not wanting nor willing to add another to the mix.
How to solve?
It seems buying stock in soap is still a good idea based on answers to an informal little poll I took this evening. Ivory, one of the more popular choices, at least from our parents generations. And none of this liquid soap stuff.
Grab the bar and start chewing.
But besides setting a good example, having high expectations and not tolerating back talk from the get – go .. which I believe is easier said than done, we’ve all got to find that magic little ‘something’ that resonates as a consequence with our kids. And make that work.
There is a perpetual flow of new information (books, magazines, web articles, bloggers, friends with opinions, counselors, etc) coming out that talks about what works, what doesn’t, how to handle .. what’s normal, what might be ok or what shouldn’t be tolerated and what will happen if you do.
A book I have heard many others reference as a good resource, including counselors and psychologists .. is called “Getting to Calm“. I have the book and my dear child, in the event it may come in handy, I will save my copy for you. 🙂 For anyone else this might benefit, here’s the link.
As I was perusing the web tonight quickly on the topic, found this page too which seems to offer some good thoughts, observations and action items.
We hopefully all find a solution that fits, works and that we want for our own family, based on not only what the experts might recommend, but from our own personal bias of history .. the things we vowed we would never do to our kids because we remember all too well what was done to us.
Or, because while we hated it, it worked.
Buena suerte ..